I have been and always will be reluctant to write about MS Dhoni. Mahendra Singh Dhoni is not a name, it’s an emotion! The powerhouse is the most famous cricketer of this generation, and now he has been accorded the honorary rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Territorial Army unit of the Parachute Regiment. The former cricket captain has opted for a two-month break to serve and train in his Army battalion in Bengaluru.
His story of how a lower-middle class boy starting his journey from a small town in Ranchi and then getting catapulted to super-stardom is the stuff of what dreams are made of. He has influenced the way countless dreamers realise their dreams today. His legendary tales of sixes hit beyond reach of our eyes, his never-ending hunt to achieve even more and then finally securing a position with the Army in order to contribute to national security, even amidst speculation about his retirement, Dhoni continues to inspire.
“When a citizen of India wants to don the military uniform then he has to also be prepared to fulfill the task for which the uniform has been assigned to him. MS Dhoni has carried out his basic training and we know that he will be able to accomplish the task,”
But is MS Dhoni (38) retiring for good this time? Will he be able to fulfil his responsibilities with the Army as well as he does in the cricket world? What are the obstacles that can come his way? How well is he prepared to face the challenges? Fans have a billion questions, and so do we. Let’s look at some facts about the army training that Dhoni underwent and what it means for his fans:
Stand By It
Ever since the World Cup ended where India reached the semi-finals, speculations had been doing the rounds about Dhoni’s retirement, but the team management has asked for his presence in the team as they groom Rishabh Pant with an eye on the 2020 World T20 in Australia.
“Just like Dhoni has been one of the greatest servants of Indian cricket, his love for the armed forces is also well known. This idea that he would go and spend time with his regiment was in the pipeline for a while but it took a backseat due to his cricketing commitments,” sources in the know of developments said the plan was in the pipeline for a while speaking to IANS.
“This will also help increase awareness among the youth about the armed forces and that is what Dhoni wants,” the source said.
Dare To Take A Risk
In 2015, Dhoni became a qualified paratrooper after having completed five parachute training jumps from the Indian Army aircraft at the Agra training camp. Yet he is still a civilian with minimal training in progress. Dhoni will be taking on the duties of patrolling and guard and post duty and would be in constant grouping with the troops but his safety remains a general concern since the news broke out this week. “I don’t think we will need to protect him, he will protect the citizens and garrison entrusted to his task,” the Army Chief Gen. Bipin Rawat said.
According to Army sources, Dhoni will undergo training with the jawans and walk in their shoes like any other soldier. Dhoni’s battalion, which is headquartered in Bengaluru, is currently posted in the Kashmir Valley, according to these sources.
“When a citizen of India wants to don the military uniform then he has to also be prepared to fulfill the task for which the uniform has been assigned to him. MS Dhoni has carried out his basic training and we know that he will be able to accomplish the task,” he further said.
“In fact, he will be protecting a lot of other people because he will now be performing with the 106 Territorial Army battalion (Para). It is a very good battalion and they have been performing line of communication duties, static protection and he will be a part of it,” he added.
- MS Dhoni joined a battalion headquartered in Bengaluru, started his training in full swing
- He is expected to train with the Parachute Regiment for two months
- Dhoni decided to opt out from India’s tour of West Indies
Among the enthusiastic crowds and a massive fan following with women making a chunk of the fans they all admire this legendary batsman. Besides, his last moment match winning sixes has captured the imagination of our cricket crazy country.
Past couple of days, a lot has been reported about his decision to not to be a part of the upcoming tour of West Indies and train with the Army instead. The speculation about his retirement from cricket has been debated upon, but for now he is neck deep into Army training.
Former England cricketer and commentator David Lloyd’s response to the news on Twitter was signalling. Lloyd responded to a tweet by Sky Sports Cricket with two ‘face with tears of joy’ emoticons and certainly that did not go down well with Dhoni’s fans.
— David 'Bumble' Lloyd (@BumbleCricket) July 20, 2019
Since the wicket-keeper batsman has taken a two-month sabbatical, the future is quite unclear. “The request has now been approved by the Indian Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat and the honorary Lt Col would train with the Parachute regiment battalion,” top Army sources told ANI.
Earlier he underwent training with the Special Forces in Agra in 2015 and carried out five jumps to qualify as a paratrooper. The fifth jump was from an AN-32 transport aircraft at a height of 1,250 feet. “For the one month he spent in Agra, he stayed in normal Army lodging. He followed all drills like any soldier including folding his own parachute,” a source said. “He came to the establishment in an Audi car but used only Army Gypsy for the one month he was with us. His Audi used to be a back-up.”
Dhoni has also undergone training in the firing of weapons and other activities too. The the honorary rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Territorial Army was accorded to him by the Indian Army in 2011. Dhoni was given this honour along with Abhinav Bindra and Deepak Rao.
Feature Image Credit: DNA India